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Community : Top Stories Last Updated: Mar 6, 2013 - 9:40:15 AM

Familiar Faces: UPS driver Blake Linning offers the complete package
By Elizabeth Bush
Mar 6, 2013 - 9:37:59 AM

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Chances are, if you live on Daniel Island, Blake Linning has paid a visit to your doorstep.
A driver for the United Parcel Service (UPS), the Summerville resident has personally delivered thousands of packages big and small to residents and businesses on his Daniel Island route over the years.  And if you’re lucky enough to be around when Linning calls, he’ll leave you with more than a stamped envelope or box.
“I love that one smile is contagious!” said Linning, wearing his trademark brown uniform while on his dinner break last week at the Daniel Island Subway. “Give a smile, and you get one back.”
That friendly philosophy has earned the affable driver a pretty solid reputation on the island for excellent customer service. In fact, some of his recipients have been known to bake him cookies and other tasty treats. One even offered freshly warmed honey buns to Linning and his crew.
“Everybody here is really considerate,” he said. “A lot of people know my name.”
And Linning knows them, too. Frequent visits offer a chance to forge special friendships. When he learned a customer’s son, Blake Jeresaty, was playing basketball for Bishop England, he promised to go to one of his games. As is his trademark, he delivered.
“It was really fun,” said Linning, of his time at the game. “…I really get to know the families on my route. I get to see kids grow up. It’s pretty cool.”
As a teenager, when he wasn’t running track and field at Stratford High School, Linning remembers cutting grass to earn a few extra dollars. He also took a job at Ryan’s, where he continued to work after graduating. Later jobs included selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door and detailing cars at Hudson Nissan. In 2003, he started working part-time at UPS in the company’s warehouse. Linning would show up for work before the sun came up, at 4:30 am, to help sort and load the day’s deliveries onto the trucks.  By 8:30 he was done and ready to head to his day job at Hudson.  Soon, he got an opportunity to become a full-time driver for UPS. His first route was on Daniel Island.
“We have three trucks that work out here,” said Linning, who also covers routes in other areas of the Charleston region. “…Just today, I delivered 180 packages (on Daniel Island).”
Over the busy holiday season, the delivery count soars. It may mean longer hours than a typical 10 hour day. But that doesn’t keep Linning and his UPS teammates from getting the job done.
“We train for it all year! My whole idea about Christmas is it’s the same thing, just a whole lot more… I just try not to get stressed about it. We work at a brisk pace, but we get through it. Our excellent management team helps a lot.”
There are some other great perks to the job, he said, aside from getting a dessert or two when a package is delivered on time. Linning remembers one customer literally jumping for joy when he brought a parcel to her home.
“She even gave me a kiss on the cheek!” he recalled.
And if there was ever an example of a human global positioning system, Linning would most certainly fit the bill. His job has enabled him to obtain a near perfect recollection of almost all addresses on the island. Mention just about any location and Linning knows how to get there.   
“I try to picture a house with the person who lives there.” 
So if you haven’t had an opportunity to meet Linning yet, it will surely happen eventually. No matter what you order, he’ll try his best to make it a special delivery.

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